St Mark 13:12-23

St Mark continued:

12 Tradet autem frater fratrem in mortem, et pater filium: et consurgent filii in parentes, et morte afficient eos. 13 Et eritis odio omnibus propter nomen meum. Qui autem sustinuerit in finem, hic salvus erit.14 Cum autem videritis abominationem desolationis stantem, ubi non debet, qui legit, intelligat: tunc qui in Judæa sunt, fugiant in montes: 15 et qui super tectum, ne descendat in domum, nec introëat ut tollat quid de domo sua: 16 et qui in agro erit, non revertatur retro tollere vestimentum suum. 17 Væ autem prægnantibus et nutrientibus in illis diebus. 18 Orate vero ut hieme non fiant. 19 Erunt enim dies illi tribulationes tales quales non fuerunt ab initio creaturæ, quam condidit Deus usque nunc, neque fient. 20 Et nisi breviasset Dominus dies, non fuisset salva omnis caro: sed propter electos, quos elegit, breviavit dies. 21 Et tunc si quis vobis dixerit: Ecce hic est Christus, ecce illic, ne credideritis. 22 Exsurgent enim pseudochristi et pseudoprophetæ, et dabunt signa et portenta ad seducendos, si fieri potest, etiam electos. 23 Vos ergo videte: ecce prædixi vobis omnia.

[12] And the brother shall betray his brother unto death, and the father his son; and children shall rise up against the parents, and shall work their death. [13] And you shall be hated by all men for my name' s sake. But he that shall endure unto the end, he shall be saved. [14] And when you shall see the abomination of desolation, standing where it ought not: he that readeth let him understand: then let them that are in Judea, flee unto the mountains: [15] And let him that is on the housetop, not go down into the house, nor enter therein to take any thing out of the house:[16] And let him that shall be in the field, not turn back to take up his garment. [17] And woe to them that are with child, and that give suck in those days. [18] But pray ye, that these things happen not in winter. [19] For in those days shall be such tribulations, as were not from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, neither shall be. [20] And unless the Lord had shortened the days, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect which he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. [21] And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; lo, he is here: do not believe. [22] For there will rise up false Christs and false prophets, and they shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce (if it were possible) even the elect. [23] Take you heed therefore; behold I have foretold you all things

Commentary (Catena Aurea)

BEDE; This has often been seen in time of persecution, nor can there be any firm affection amongst men who differ in faith.

THEOPHYL. And this He says, that on hearing it, they might prepare themselves to bear persecutions and ills with greater patience. Then He brings them consolation, saying, And you shall be hated of all men for my name's sake; for the being hated for Christ's sake is a sufficient reason for suffering persecutions patiently, for it is not the punishment, but the cause, that makes the martyr. Again, that which follows is no small comfort amidst persecution: But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.

GLOSS. After speaking of the things which were to happen before the destruction of the city, the Lord now foretells those which happened about the destruction itself of the city, saying, But when you shall see the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not, (let him that reads understand.)

AUG. Matthew says, standing in the holy place; but with this verbal difference Mark has expressed the same meaning; for He says where it ought not to stand, because it ought not to stand in the holy place.

BEDE; When we are challenged to understand what is said, we may conclude that it is mystical. But it may either be said simply of Antichrist, or of the statue of Caesar, which Pilate put into the temple, or of the equestrian statue of Adrian, which for a long time stood in the holy of holies itself. An idol is also called abomination according to the Old Testament, and he has added of desolation, because it was placed in the temple when desolate and deserted.

THEOPHYL. Or he means by the abomination of desolation, the entrance of enemies into the city by violence.

AUG. But Luke, in order to show that the abomination of desolation happened w hen Jerusalem was taken, in this same place gives the words of our Lord, And, when you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. It goes on: Then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains.

BEDE; It is on record that this was literally fulfilled, when on the approach of the war with Rome and the extermination of the Jewish people, all the Christians who were in that province, warned by the prophecy, fled far away, as Church history relates, and retiring beyond Jordan, remained for a time in the city of Pella under the protection of Agrippa, the king of the Jews, of whom mention is made in the Acts, and who with that part of the Jews, who chose to obey him, always continued subject to the Roman empire.

THEOPHYL. And well does he say, Who are in Judea, for the Apostles were no longer in Judea, but before the battle had been driven from Jerusalem.

GLOSS. Or rather went out of their own accord, being led: by the Holy Ghost. It goes on, And let him that is on the housetop not go down, into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house; for it is a desirable thing to be saved even naked from such a destruction.

It goes on: But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days.

BEDE; That is, they whose wombs or whose hands, overladen with the burden of children, in no small measure impede their forced flight.

THEOPHYL. But it seems to me, that in these words He foretells the eating of children, for when afflicted by famine and pestilence, they laid hands on their children.

GLOSS. Again, after having mentioned this double impediment to flight, which might arise either from the desire of taking away property, or from having children to carry, He touches upon the third obstacle, namely, that coming from the season; saying, And pray you that your flight be not in the winter.

THEOPHYL. That is, lest they who wish to fly should be impeded by the difficulties of the season. And He fitly gives the cause for so great a necessity for flight; saying, For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created to this time, neither shall be.

AUG. For Josephus, who has written the history of the Jews, relates that such things were suffered by this people, as are scarcely credible, wherefore it is said, not without cause, that there was not such tribulation from the beginning of the creation until now, nor shall ever be. But although in the time of Antichrist there shall be one similar or greater, we must understand that it is of that people, that it is said that there shall never happen such another. For if they are the first and foremost to receive Antichrist, that same people may rather be said to cause than to suffer tribulation.

BEDE; The only refuge in such evils is, that God who gives strength to suffer, should abridge the power of inflicting. Wherefore there follows: And except that the Lord had shortened those days.

THEOPHYL. That is, if the Roman war had not been soon finished, no flesh should be saved; that is, no Jew should have escaped; but for the elect's sake, whom he has chosen, that is, for the sake of the believing Jews, or who were hereafter to believe, He has shortened the days, that is, the war was soon finished, for God foresaw that many Jews would believe after the destruction of the city; for which reason He would not suffer the whole race to be utterly destroyed.

AUG. But some persons more fitly understand that the calamities themselves are signified by days, as evil days are spoken of in other parts of holy Scripture; for the days themselves are not evil, but what is done in them. The woes themselves therefore are said to be abridged, because through the patience which God gave they felt them less, and then what was great in itself was abridged.

BEDE; Or else; these words, In those days shall be affliction, properly agree with the times of Antichrist, when not only tortures more frequent, and more painful than before are to be heaped on the faithful, but also, what is more terrible, the working of miracles shall accompany those who inflict torments. But in proportion as this tribulation shall be greater then those which preceded, by so much shall it be shorter. For it is believed, that during three years and a half, as far as may be conjectured from the prophecy of Daniel and the Revelations of John, the Church is to be attacked. In a spiritual sense, however, when we see the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not, that is, heresies and climes reigning amongst them, who appear to be consecrated by the heavenly mysteries, then whosoever of us remain in Judea, that is, in the confession of the true faith, ought to mount the higher in virtue, the more men we see following the broad paths of vice.

PSEUDO-JEROME; For our flight is to the mountains, that he who has mounted to the heights of virtue may not go down to the depths of sin.

BEDE; Then let him who is on the house-top, that is, whose mind rises above carnal deeds, and who lives spiritually, as it were in the free air, not come down to the base acts of his former conversation, nor seek again those things which he had left, the desires of the world or the flesh. For our house either means this world, or that in which we live, our own flesh.

PSEUDO-JEROME; Pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on the sabbath day, that is, that the fruit of our work may not be ended with the end of time; for fruit comes to an end in the winter and time in the sabbath.

BEDE; But if we are to understand it of the consummation of the world, He commands that our faith and love for Christ should not grow cold, and that we should not grow lazy and cold in the work of God, by taking a sabbath from virtue.

THEOPHYL. We must also avoid sin with fervor, and not coldly and quietly.

PSEUDO-JEROME; But the tribulation shall be great, and the days short, for the sake of the elect, lest the evil of this time should change their understanding.

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